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Chicago house music

Related: house music - Larry Heard - Frankie Knuckles - Ron Hardy - the Hot Mix 5 - Trax Records - DJ International Records

The combination of Frankie Knuckles in the Warehouse, Larry Sherman at Trax records and cheap second hand Japanese rhythm computers gave birth to house music.

Chicago's second wave of house music was led by Curtis Jones aka Green Velvet, Roy Davis Jr, ...

Sleeve for BCM records 12 volume The history of the house sound of Chicago
sleeve notes to this comp here.

Chicago house music

Chicago's greatest influence on electronic dance music is as the birthplace of house music. The name house music is said to come from the Chicago dance club, the Warehouse, where the legendary Frankie Knuckles DJed. The classic house record label Trax Records was based in Chicago, and put out seminal house records like Jamie Principle & Frankie Knuckles's "Your Love" and Marshall Jefferson's "Move Your Body". Other influential house artists to come out of Chicago include Adonis, Larry Heard, Ron Hardy, Phuture, Robert Owens, and Farley Jackmaster Funk. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Illinois#Electronic_music [Mar 2005]

Chicago house
Chicago house is a style of house music. House music originated in a Chicago, Illinois nightclub called the WareHouse, and this is where the style of music derives its name from. DJ Frankie Knuckles originally popularized house music while working at the WareHouse.

House music grew out of the post-disco dance club culture of the early 1980s. After disco became popular, certain urban DJs, particularly those in gay communities, altered the music to make it less pop-oriented. The beat became more mechanical and the bass grooves became deeper, while elements of electronic synth pop, Latin soul, dub reggae, rap, and jazz were grafted over the music's insistent, unvarying 4/4 beat. Frequently, the music was purely instrumental and when there were vocalists, they were faceless female divas that often sang wordless melodies.

By the late 1980s, house had broken out of underground clubs in cities like Chicago, New York, and London, and had begun making inroads on the pop charts, particularly in England and Europe but later in America under the guise of artists like C+C Music Factory and Madonna. At the same time, house was breaking into the pop charts; it fragmented into a number of subgenres, including hip-house, ambient house, and most significantly, acid house (a subgenre of house with the instantly recognizable squelch of the Roland TB-303 bassline generator). During the '90s, house ceased to be cutting-edge music, yet it remained popular in clubs throughout Europe and America. At the end of the decade, a new wave of progressive house artists including Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and House of 909 brought the music back to critical quarters with praised full-length works. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_house [Apr 2005]


Jacking is a dance technique that was popular in the late 1980s. "Jacking" was most often done to early house music, especially Chicago house. The dance itself consisted of standing firmly in one place and moving the arms above the head, with occasional knee-bends and knee-ups.

Because of jacking's association with early house music, many early house tracks used the word in their titles (such as Raze's "Jack The Groove"), or used vocal samples such as "jack your body". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacking [Jul 2006]

Chicago Artists

  • see also Lil Louis, Larry Heard, Terry Hunter Trax records, Acid House, Derrick Carter, Chez Damier, Curtis Jones, Gene Farris, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Trax, and Ron Hardy

    The Roots of House Music

    House music's roots lie in the spontaneous combustion that was a handful of Chicago clubs in the early 1980s. In the days when clubs only needed one DJ, that DJ was in a position to make waves. And in a city where the clubs were usually soundtracked by jukeboxes, those waves could become a storm. Chicago was unique in the sense that they had control over their own pressing plants. - Max Renn

    Acid House

    Weirdest of all is `Acid Trax' by Phuture, the record that started the whole fad off. The `Cocaine Mix' starts with a treated voice midway between a dalek and the Voice of Judgement that announces, `This is Cocaine Speaking'; spectral eddies of a disembodied human wail (reminiscent of nothing so much as PIL's `No Birds Do Sing') simulate the soul languishing in cold turkey; then we're launched on a terror-ride that again reminds me of PIL's `Careering' or `Death Disco'. `I can make you like for me/I can make you die for me/In the end/I'll be your only friend.' If disco was always ment to be about escapism, acid is about no-escapism. --Simon Reynolds with Paul Oldfield (1990) [...]

    Larry Heard, Mr Fingers

    Mr. Fingers (EP) Trax Records (TX-127) - 1986.
    1-Can You Feel It? w-Martin Luther King speech:
    2-Beyond The Clouds
    3-Washing Machine

    In the beginning, there was Jack. And Jack had a groove. And from this groove came the groove of all grooves. And while one day viciously throwing down on his box, Jack boldly declared, "Let there be House!" And House music was born. I am, you see. I am the creator. And this is my House. And in my House there is only House music. But I am not so selfish, because once you've entered my House, it then becomes our House, and our House music. And you see, no one man owns House, because house music is a universal language spoke and understood by all. You see, House is a feeling, that no one can understand really, unless you're deep into the vibe of House. House is an uncontrollable desire to Jack your body. And as I told ya before, this is our house, and our House music. And in every house you understand, there is a keeper. And in this house the keeper is Jack. Now some of you might wonder, "who is Jack and what is it that Jack does?" Jack is the one who gives you the power to Jack your body. Jack is the one who gives you the power to do the snake. Jack is the one who gives you the key to the wiggly worm. Jack is the one who learns you how to walk your body. Jack is the one that can bring nations and nations of all Jackers together under one house. You may be black, you may be white, you may be Jew, or Gentile. It don't make a difference in our house. And this is fresh!!! [...]

    Roy Davis Jr

    Roy Davis Jr Roy describes the music that he makes as "soul electrica"; soul music mixed with electronics. His style has changed and grown up through the years as he has been going back to his spiritual roots in house music, away from the sound that he once was associated with - Phuture’s acid and wild pitch. The sound he is working on is expanding more on the soulful side combining an unmistakable deep funk sound of Chicago. [...]

    Trax Records

    TRAX records from Chicago in the mid to late eighties

    Think of a classic house record and nine times out of ten you'll think of Trax, although you may not realise it. 'Move Your Body'? 'Baby Wants To Ride'? 'Washing Machine'? 'Can U Feel It'? All Trax releases. 'House Nation'? 'Acid Trax'? 'Your Love'? 'We Are Phuture'? 'U Used To Hold Me'? Yup, those too. What's more they introduced the world to producers who've become immortalised as some of house music's greatest innovators - Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles - and have provided an outlet for many more of Chicago's house artists over the years, such as Armando, Liddell Townsend, Robert Owens, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Mr Lee, Adonis, Fast Eddie, Ralphie Rosario, DJ Rush, Steve Poindexter, Terry Baldwin, DJ Skull... the list goes on. And they did it all by releasing crappy-looking records that sounded like they'd been pressed on sandpaper. Now there's a story worth telling. --by Max Renn [...]

    Frankie Kuckles

    Frankie Knuckles, a New York native, moved to Chicago in the late seventies to DJ at the now legendary Warehouse, giving birth to the 'house music'. [...]

    Glenn Underground

  • Glenn Underground Glenn Underground is the founding member of the Strictly Jaz Unit. He was raised on disco classics and freeform jazz in Chicago's Southside, the place where house music was born. Taking inspiration from Chicago's original pioneers, Larry Heard, Ron Hardy, Lil' Louis, and the like, Glenn has produced some of the most well respected deep house music of the past five years

    Deep House

    Strictly speaking, 'Deep House' is the name give to classic house from Chicago and New York in the same vein as Frankie Knuckles' 1987 LP 'Deep House' from which the name originates. Though I am undoubtedly venturing into highly controversial waters, I will venture to say that currently, deep house has meaning mostly as a counterpoint to more aggressive house sub-genres like hard house. As a name referring to a stand-alone genre, I therefore find 'Deep House' quite meaningless. [...]

    The Warehouse

  • the Warehouse Legendary Chicago club (1977/78-19??). It is widely accepted that it gave house music its name. Ironically, first choice for The Warehouse was Larry Levan,who declined but in turn suggested his friend Frankie Knuckles.

    Ron Hardy

    1986: While Frankie Knuckles had laid the groundwork for house at the Warehouse, it was to be another DJ from the gay scene that was really to create the environment for the house explosion - Ron Hardy. Where Knuckles' sound was still very much based in disco, Hardy was the DJ that went for the rawest, wildest rhythm tracks he could find and he made The Music Box the inspirational temple for pretty much every DJ and producer that was to come out of the Chicago scene. He was also the DJ to whom the producers took their very latest tracks so they could test the reaction on the dance floor. - Phil Cheeseman [...]


    The decadent beat of Chicago House, a relentless sound designed to take dancers to a new high, it has its origins in the gospel and its future in spaced out simulation (techno). In the mid 1970's, when disco was still an underground phenomeon, sin and salvation were willfully mixed together to create a sound which somehow managed to be decadent and devout. New York based disco labels, like Prelude, West End, Salsoul, and TK Disco, literally pioneered a form of orgasmic gospel, which merged the sweeping strings of Philadelphia dance music with the tortured vocals of soul singers like Loleatta Holloway. Her most famous releases, "Love Sensation" and "Hit and Run" became working models for modern house records. After an eventful career which began in Atlanta and the southren gospel belt, Loleatta joined Salsoul Records during the height of the metropolitan disco boom, before returning to her hometown of Chicago. --Stuart Cosgrove


    1. Best of Chicago Trax [2 CD Amazon US]
      1. On the House 2. Move Your Body - Marshall Jefferson 3. Baby Wants to Ride - Frankie Knuckles 4. Can't Get Enough - Liz Torres 5. Do It Properly - Adonis 6. You Used to Hold Me - Ralphi Rosario 7. 7 Ways to Jack - Hercules 8. Jackin' Me Around 9. I Like It - Razz 10. Iminxtc 11. Mind Games - Quest 12. Don't Make Me Jack - Paris Grey Disc: 2 1. Your Love - Frankie Knuckles 2. Bring Down the Walls - Robert Owens 3. Can U Feel It - Mr. Fingers 4. Children of the Night - Kevin Irving 5. Jungle - Jungle Wonz 6. Real Thing - Screamin' Rachael 7. No Way Back - Adonis 8. House Nation 9. String Free - Phortune 10. You Used to Hold Me - Ralphi Rosario 11. This Is Acid - Maurice 12. Ride the Rhythm - Kevin Irving 13. Move Your Body - Marshall Jefferson 14. Let's Get Busy more on Trax records
    2. Green Velvet - Green Velvet [1 CD, Amazon US]
      Chicago's Curtis Jones (a.k.a. Cajmere and Green Velvet) is, by far, on of the top producers of house music in the world. In the mid-'90s, his self-run record labels, Cajual and Relief, spearheaded the continuing renaissance of the genre with distinctive tracks that delivered a powerful dance-floor rush and gave DJs a deep arsenal of guaranteed crowd pleasers. While his Cajmere tracks are upbeat vocal workouts, it's his work as Green Velvet that continues to fascinate and gain legions of new devotees. Jones sets his GV material on a bed of dark, relentless, dirty beats, while adding his own twisted vocal flourishes that are one part Gary Numan and one part Bauhaus. Each track has a distinct narrative (i.e., a tour of a night club or an imagined reincarnation as a drop of water); the results are both frightening and hilarious. Long out-of-print on vinyl, the new Green Velvet CD combines such "classics" as "Flash," "Leave My Body," and "Answering Machine" with more recent material, including the fantastic Giorgio Moroder-inspired drive of "Coitus." --David Prince for amazon.com

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